Glastonbury & Street Green Party

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Glastonbury elects 3rd Green Mayor!

On Tuesday, 9th May 2017, Cllr. Emma George became the 318th – and third successive Green – Mayor of Glastonbury!

Out-going Mayor, Cllr. Jon Cousins, proposed his Deputy for the position as the final motion of his Mayoralty, telling the assembled Councillors and members of the public:  “It is with great pleasure that I propose Cllr Emma George for election to the role of Mayor of Glastonbury.  I feel that the election of the current Deputy Mayor to the highest office is something that is both seemly and worthy.”

Out-going Mayor, Cllr. Jon Cousins, proposes Cllr. Emma George as his successor.  photo: Claire Herbaux, Central Somerset Gazette.

Seemly because as Deputy Emma has been a great support to me in my year of office.  Joining me on many Civic Occasions, and representing Glaston admirably and capably when I could not.”

Worthy because time and again she has show real leadership and professionalism with regard to the Council’s business.”

May I remind Councillors of how she negotiated favourably with Weedingtech; has worked diligently on helping to develop the Youth Council; has worked closely with the Police and One Team to help address anti-social behaviour in the town; has chaired with great skill the Town Centre Working Group, and supported the various projects and campaigns that have evolved from this forum.”

Her contribution to the Council’s Staffing Committee and as Chair of the Communications Committee reflecting the expertise and experience in these related industries.”

Finally, I would like to say that the role of Mayor demands that we rise above the petty divisions of politics to represent the whole community; to truly encapsulate the role of First Citizen.”

This is something that Emma has fully achieved in her capacity as Deputy Mayor.  And so, without further ado – I recommend that this Council elects Cllr Emma George as the 318th Mayor of Glastonbury.”

Emma’s nomination was seconded by Conservative Councillor Steve Henderson.  There were no other nominations, and Emma was elected Mayor by a unanimous vote.

The new Mayor of Glastonbury reads the ‘Declaration of Acceptance of Office’. photo: Claire Herbaux, Central Somerset Gazette.

In her acceptance speech, she said: “I will make sure to do my best to represent you all.  Jon is a hard act to follow. He has been an absolute pleasure to work with.”

I know I am heading into this year with great people around me.”

A first for Glastonbury!
Emma’s first act as Mayor was to preside over the election of Liberal Democrats Councillor Denise Abbot as Deputy Mayor; a first for Glastonbury – as the positions of Mayor and Deputy Mayor have never been held by two women during one Mayoralty before!

Cllrs. Emma George and Denise Abbott enthroned as Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Glastonbury. The first time that two women have sat at the top of table in the Council Chamber! photo: Claire Herbaux, Central Somerset Gazette.

As the third Green Mayor of Glastonbury, Emma follows Cllrs. Jon Cousins (2016-17) and Denise Michell (2015-16); a major achievement for the Green Party’s members and supporters in the South West.

Somerset Election Results!

In a day and night full of drama, the Green Party won its first seats on Somerset County Council.

Formerly held by the Liberal Democrats, Martin Dimery secured a stunning victory for the Green Party in Frome East with 983 votes; with another victory for the Greens in Frome West: John Clarke took the seat from former Independent Cllr Derek Tanswell with 987 votes.

John Clarke and Martin Dimery who won the first Green Seats on Somerset County Council

However, by far the largest Green Vote went to Green Mayor of Glastonbury, Cllr Jon Cousins – who received a massive 1,196 votes.  However, this was not enough to win a seat in the unique ‘double’ Glastonbury & Street Division.

Jon Cousins said after the result was announced, “We know from the verification of the ballot papers that only a handful of voters in Street voted for me – the incredible result is that over 1,100 people voted Green in Glastonbury!  This is a phenomenal vote.  It is higher than the vote that won Green seats in Frome.”

Jon Cousins received the largest ever vote for a Green at County level!

If Glastonbury was a single Division, Somerset could arguably have three Green Councillors returned this morning.  We need to ask the question:  Have the people of Glastonbury been disenfranchised by the cynical, politically motivated creation of this double Division?  I suggest that to anyone looking at the situation from outside, it could appear to be outright gerrymandering – the result of which means that no one in Glastonbury is now represented by a Councillor from Glastonbury…”

On a positive note, I would like to thank everyone who voted for me.  1,196 votes is quite possibly the largest ever vote for a Green at County level in Somerset.  Thank you to all those hard working members and supporters of the Green Party in Glastonbury.  Together, we are a flourishing, strong, and stable political voice for the Common Good.”

Full results will be published on the Mendip District Council website, HERE:

Vote Today, the 4th of May!

Voting in the Somerset County Council Election, 4th May 2017.

The Greens Can Win This Election In Glastonbury & Street!

The Glastonbury & Street Green Party Candidate is Glastonbury Town Councillor Jon Cousins.

You can vote for up to two Candidates.  However, to give Jon the strongest Green vote, you can – if you wish – just vote for him only.

A single vote for Jon is completely acceptable, and will be counted.

HOW TO VOTE?

You do not need your Polling Card to vote, but you must be Registered as an Elector.

To find which Ward you are in, you can see a Glastonbury and Street Ward Map HERE.

The Polling Stations are open from 7 am until 10 pm.

WHERE ARE THE POLLING STATIONS?

Situation of Polling Stations for Glastonbury and Street:

Glastonbury Town Hall, Magdalene Street, Glastonbury, SOMERSET BA6 9EL
Polling Station 26, for Glastonbury St. Benedict’s Ward
Register Numbers beginning with AI

Glastonbury St Edmund’s Community Hall, Windmill Hill, Glastonbury, SOMERSET BA6 8EW
Polling Station 27, for Glastonbury St. Edmund’s Ward
Register Numbers beginning with AJ

Glastonbury United Reformed Church, The Meeting Room, High Street, Glastonbury, SOMERSET BA6 9DZ
Polling Station 28, for Glastonbury St. John’s Ward
Register Numbers beginning with AK

Glastonbury Town Hall, Magdalene Street, Glastonbury, SOMERSET BA6 9EL
Polling Station 29, for Glastonbury St. Mary’s Ward
Register Numbers beginning with AL

The Whithys Communal Hall, 24 The Whithys, Street, SOMERSET BA16 9PL
Polling Station 30, for Street North Ward No.1
Register Numbers beginning with BF

Street United Reformed Church, Orchard Road, Street, SOMERSET BA16 0ER
Polling Station 31, for Street North Ward No.2
Register Numbers beginning with BG

Street Wessex Hotel, Wessex Suite, High Street, Street, SOMERSET BA16 0EF
Polling Station 32, for Street North Ward No.3
Register Numbers beginning with BH

The Victoria Field Social Club, Victoria Field, Leigh Road, Street, SOMERSET BA16 0HB
Polling Station 33, for Street South Ward No.1
Register Numbers beginning with BI

The Victoria Field Social Club, Victoria Field, Leigh Road, Street, SOMERSET BA16 0HB
Polling Station 34 Street South Ward No.2
Register Numbers beginning with BJ

Brookside Primary School, The Community Room, Brooks Road, Street, SOMERSET BA16 0PR
Polling Station 35, for Street West Ward
Register Numbers beginning with BK

Full details on Mendip District Council’s Website HERE.

Our Election Broadcast 2017

 

On May the 4th, Vote for REAL CHANGE

County Council Candidates

The Green Party have launched their Mendip District campaign for the Somerset County Council Election, with more seats contested than ever before – and candidates personally endorsed by Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP.

Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas MP.

The Green Party’s leader said: “Voting Green gives you the chance to elect councillors who will fight your corner, and stand up for your interests.  We know that Greens can win in Frome and in Glastonbury & Street – and that by doing so and working with other parties we can make a huge difference.  So if you want councillors to work tirelessly for your community please vote Green on 4th May.

Green Party spokesperson, Mendip District Councillor Shane Collins said “Our candidates provide an opportunity for voters to oppose the cuts, defend services, protect green spaces, and our environment.  Through working with our three Mendip District Council Councillors and our many Parish and Town Councillors, the Green Party can ensure Mendip’s towns remain vibrant.

Green County Council candidates for Frome, L-R: John Clarke, Martin Dimery, and Pepita Collins.

On 20th April, there will be a free public meeting at the Cheese And Grain, Frome, where Independents for Frome Town Councillors Peter Macfadyen, Mel Usher, and Jean Boulton will join the Green Party’s District Councillors Shane Collins, Des Harris, and Stina Falle, and the Green’s County candidates to discuss ‘How Frome can thrive as a green town in Somerset’.

Jon Cousins, Green SCC candidate Glastonbury & Street.

In Glastonbury & Street, the Greens have selected hard-working Town Councillor and Mayor of Glastonbury Jon Cousins as their candidate, who said he was honoured to have been chosen, adding: “For years the Tories have taken their hold of Somerset for granted.  But with the County Council £22million in debt, and Children’s Services in ‘special measures’ following the 2013 and 2015 Ofsted inspections – judging the overall effectiveness of arrangements for the protection of children ‘inadequate’ – we need to send a message that their complacency is not good enough.  The Greens can win in Glastonbury & Street.  We are a voice for real change, and represent real opposition to the disastrous Tory cuts in Somerset.

The Greens are standing nine candidates across the Mendip District, including: Jon Cousins in Glastonbury & Street, John Clarke, Martin Dimery, and Pepita Collins in Frome, Peter Harlow in Shepton Mallet, David Hine in Mendip Hills, Paul Crummay in Wells, Jono Ekin in Mendip Central & East, and Theo Simon in Mendip South.

Theo Simon, Green SCC candidate Mendip South.

The election takes place on Thursday 4th May, and polling stations will be open from 7 am to 10 pm.

Green Mayor & Deputy Open First Accounts With Last Bank Standing

When all the High Street Banks deserted Glastonbury, our amazing community got organised and campaigned against the closures; calling for one branch to remain – a ‘Last Bank Standing’.

That call, and all the hard work that went into the flash mobs, petitions, publicity, and protests has been answered.

The Nationwide Building Society moved one step closer to opening their branch this week when Phil Goodridge-Reynolds, the new Nationwide branch manager, helped Glastonbury Mayor Jon Cousins and Deputy Mayor Emma George open the first current accounts in the run up to the branch opening.

Green Mayor, Jon Cousins said, “As Mayor of Glastonbury, I am absolutely delighted to join Deputy Mayor Emma George in opening the founding current accounts with Nationwide’s new Glastonbury branch.”

The Nationwide recently posted: “When the people of Glastonbury asked for a bank, it was a building society that answered and we’re looking forward to opening our new branch in the summer.”

Our new Glastonbury Nationwide will be located at 3 High Street, and work has now begun on designing your branch, which is expected to open by this summer.”

Leading the new Grade II listed Glastonbury branch is Phil Goodridge-Reynolds, branch manager and his newly recruited Customer Representatives; Rachael Butt, Adam Leitch and Sonia Love, who are now ready to accept new customers.

If you’d like to open a current account, you can do so online HERE
You can also book an appointment in Glastonbury Town Hall.
Just call 0800 554 1590 (Monday – Friday 9.30 am – 5 pm, or Saturday 9 am – 3 pm).

Nationwide are also offering Glastonbury residents the chance to share £200 when they recommend one of Nationwide’s current accounts to a friend!  For more information click HERE

Time for CHANGE

Can there be any residents who were not shocked and dismayed when Somerset County Council’s £22m overspend was revealed in September 2016? This disgraceful situation is compounded by opposition County Councillors saying the County could even declare itself bankrupt by the end of the financial year in April 2017!

The state of the County Council’s (in)capacity to manage its affairs is surely reflected in the level of service and protection it provides to families and children – with Children’s Services in ‘special measures’ following the 2013 and 2015 Ofsted inspections judging the overall effectiveness of arrangements for the protection of children “inadequate”.

If this were not enough, for many of us, there are daily reminders of the cuts implemented by Somerset in their attempt to claw back on budgets; perhaps the most immediate being the impact of the recent cuts and changes to the County’s bus services… and, what a shambles that has been!

Shouldn’t we be embarrassed to watch the current administration – seemingly incapable of keeping to their decisions; with one eye on the County Council elections in May – scrabbling around to find emergency funding to help cover the costs of the 67 service following the outcry from residents of Wookey Hole, Wells, and Burnham-On-Sea when the service was initially cut?

WebberBus in Burnham-on-Sea by Geof Sheppard – Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The County Council says it spends around £1.6m subsidising bus services across the county, but the huge pressure on all its budgets means it cannot afford to continue to fully support the services we need. Here in Street and Glastonbury, with so many of us reliant on the bus service, we’ve witnessed upheaval and several changes over the past year to the 29, 54, (3)75 and the (3)77 – with the withdrawal of the 55, following the collapse of WebberBus.

Glastonbury’s Mayor, and frequent bus user, Cllr. Jon Cousins recently commented: “Due to recent cuts the bus service on Sundays and Bank Holidays is limited or non-existent on some routes. There’s no bus service to and from Taunton at any time on Sundays! Evening services have also been reduced. In addition, it seems as though Wells Bus Station has now become the default destination if travelling to Street or Glastonbury from Bristol, Bath, or Shepton Mallet.

Adding: “It sometimes feels that I’m the only Councillor in Somerset who ever catches the bus. Indeed, I’ve never seen a fellow Councillor on any the services I’ve used in the last 15 years… The fact that Councillors don’t use public transport must certainly account for the reason why there’s no direct bus service from Glastonbury to our nearest train station at Castle Cary!

One thing is for sure, if those Councillors responsible for determining the bus subsidies actually had to rely on public transport to travel around, then we’d have a best bus service in the UK!

The loss of bus services affects access to a whole range of other services. According to a recently published report*, 51% of households in smaller rural areas do not have access to a regular bus service – and Government cuts are forcing councils like Somerset to slash spending on services by more than £27m, which impacts hardest on the young, elderly, and disabled people.

Glastonbury and Street Green Party understand that the bus service is absolutely vital for many people, and we believe it is time for a change. Be it simple improvements, such as clear, easy to understand, up-to-date information on local services being available at all bus stops or common sense approaches, for example – more bus stops with seating and shelter, or making it policy that local transport users must be fully involved in decisions on service levels. And surely, it should be expected that there would be provision of regular bus service to most villages and towns from their nearest station…

– – – –

If you would like to see a real change on Somerset County Council, then vote for the Green Party candidate in the County Council elections on Thursday, 4th May 2017.

– – – –

* Rural England Report: ‘State Of Rural Services’ [17th January 2017].

Green Mayor calls for support of petition to abolish nuclear weapons

Glastonbury’s Green Mayor, Jon Cousins, calls for support of the ‘Mayors for Peace’ petition to abolish nuclear weapons by 2020:

“As a member of the international movement Mayors for Peace, I invite you to join me in signing the online petition seeking the total abolition of nuclear weapons by 2020, with a nuclear weapons convention – requesting the leaders of all nations states, and urging the United Nations to exercise strong leadership in the following:
To ensure that no city will ever again be destroyed by a nuclear weapon,
● Start Negotiations Now! on a nuclear weapons convention!
● Do not allow war and do not target any city or civilian!
Cities Are Not Targets!”

The petition can be found HERE.

Mayors for Peace is an international organization of cities dedicated to the promotion of peace that was established in 1982 at the initiative of then Mayor of Hiroshima Takeshi Araki, in response to the deaths of around 140,000 people due to the atomic bombing of the city on 6th August 1945.

Green Mayor meets Police Commander

Mayor of Glastonbury, Green Councillor Jon Cousins writes: On Wednesday 23rd November, I met with Chief Inspector Mark Edgington – Local Policing Commander for the Avon & Somerset Constabulary’s East Somerset Division – at Glastonbury Town Hall.

BACKGROUND
As with meeting the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens in October, the background to meeting with the Chief Inspector has been my attempt to help address the increasing anti-social behaviour that Glastonbury’s community has been suffering – the intimidation, drunkenness, racial and verbal abuse, and open drug dealing that so many members of our community have raised with me – a situation which has escalated with an attempted murder on 14th September, followed by a second serious assault on 28th October – both incidents were stabbings; both occurred in broad daylight; both happening within yards of one of our schools…

IMPACT OF POLICE FUNDING CUTS:
The other background factor, which Sue Mountstevens had been very candid about, is the impact of the austerity funding cuts imposed by central government on the Police service as a whole, and the fact that Avon and Somerset has been intentionally ‘dampened’ – provided with less resources than other constabularies, resulting in £14 million ‘missing’ from the budget; which means 350 fewer officers, PCSOs and staff than the average!

'Disaster' worries as drugs service moves out of town CSG 6th October 2016'Disaster' worries as drugs service moves out of town – Central Somerset Gazette, 6th October 2016

‘Disaster’ worries as drugs service moves out of town – Central Somerset Gazette, 6th October 2016.

THE MEETING:
Mark Edgington came to the Town Hall with Inspector Mark Nicholson of Glastonbury’s Neighbourhood Police Team, and they met with me and the Deputy Mayor, Cllr. Emma George to explore the proposed options to help the situation in Glastonbury – resulting from my meeting with the PCC.

1) The deployment of officers for a ‘permanent’ day-time police presence in the High Street.
The Chief Inspector reiterating the message of the PCC – the Force has undergone major efficiency savings as a result of ‘Austerity’, and – in addition – will need to make further savings of £5½million… all of which has had, and will have, an understandable impact on resources and operations.

I observed that the biggest response I’ve received from Glastonbury residents was their concern around the lack of a visible police presence – and the feeling that this lack has contributed directly to the rise in the incidents and problems we are facing as a community.

This was something highlighted during my consultation in September, and, as a result, Cllr George and I had previously discussed the deployment of officers for a ‘permanent’ day-time police presence in the High Street with Inspector Nicholson and our local Police Team’s Sargent Slade.

Mark Edgington confirmed that under the Force’s new ‘Police & Crime Plan’ (2016-2020), Neighbourhood Policing was a priority; “meaning visibility on the streets.”

2) The developing a Street Pastor team.
We discussed the potential of a Street Pastor team to work as part of a multi-agency approach to addressing the anti-social behaviour. Mark Edgington was fully behind this initiative, and we agreed that this would be a useful option for the newly convened Glastonbury Multi-Agency Meeting to develop.

3) Crimestoppers.
Mark Edgington endorsed the PCC’s assertion that people who are worried about reporting crimes and incidents because they fear reprisals should use this anonymous, independent service – which is not part of the police.
Find out more about Crimestoppers HERE.

4) Volunteers for Special Constables.
Mark Edgington felt that there was merit in promoting the Special Constabulary in Glastonbury; enabling people who felt strongly about the situation to volunteer for the Force. I mentioned that Cllr George and I would be meeting with the Special Chief Inspector Roger Ball and Special Constabulary Co-ordinator Katie Hancock later that day.
Find out more about volunteering for the Special Constabulary HERE.

£1 per month to keep town safe? – the front page of the Central Somerset Gazette, 10th November 2016

£1 per month to keep town safe? – the front page of the Central Somerset Gazette, 10th November 2016.

5) The ‘Precept’ funding a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO).
The final option we discussed was the potential for Glastonbury to fund an additional Police Community Support Officer for the town through the Parish Precept (the amount of the Council Tax that goes to Town and Parish Councils).

This is something I’ve encouraged residents to comment on – through the Central Somerset Gazette and via social media. Feedback has been largely positive, but with the specific condition that a PCSO paid for by Glastonbury would be on duty only in Glastonbury; providing a visible presence in the town – not constantly being called away to other areas.

Mark Edgington and Mark Nicholson confirmed that the Town Council could fund a dedicated Glastonbury PCSO – recalled that PCSO Mel Rowlands was originally funded as a Glastonbury specific support officer.

They confirmed that:
Although a PCSO does not have the power of arrest, they play a vital role, being the ‘eyes and ears’ of the community – feeding intelligence to the Neighbourhood Team’s Police Officers.”

PCSOs can deal with vulnerable people and – with regard to the new Public Space Protection Orders – they have the power to issue dispersal notices and warnings.”

A key element of the PCSO role is to problem solve with partners as well as responding to calls for service. This is important as being a good problem solver means that our officers treat the cause of the problem rather than just the symptoms. If a Glastonbury ‘One Team’ emerges from the current Multi-Agency Meetings, a new PCSO, paid for by Glastonbury, could undertake a co-ordinating role, helping to support the town’s areas of multiple deprivation.”

Several Town Councillors have wondered if a PCSO could assist with parking enforcement. Mark Nicholson confirmed that a PCSO can issue parking tickets to a car parked on a double yellow line if it is accompanied by an obstruction. The inspector went on to say, “PCSOs can issue tickets on behalf of other agencies (such as ‘NSL’) and I have an enquiry with them to see if that could be done for the Glastonbury PCSO.”

The Chief Inspector told us that “in terms of where a Glastonbury funded PCSO would start and finish their duty – what police station they book on and collect their equipment – I am unable to say with any certainty, but for the time being they would start at Street.” (N.B. Glastonbury Town Council may be able to provide an alternative ‘start and finish’ location for the new PCSO in Glastonbury).

Whilst Chief Inspector said that, in exceptional circumstances – “if there was a danger to life and limb and no other officer was available” – he would need to call away a PCSO to another area, he guaranteed that:

  • If a new PCSO is being paid for by Glastonbury, they will be working in Glastonbury for their tour of duty; not servicing other towns.”
  • A new PCSO paid for by Glastonbury would be in addition to the current Neighbourhood Police Team. We would not be looking to remove anyone already here.”
  • If the Town Council decided to fund a new PCSO, the Avon & Somerset Constabulary would provide a 30% abatement of the Cost Recovery Total, so essentially the Glastonbury would fund the Total Direct Cost.”

At the Town Council’s Finance & General Purposes Committee meeting on 29th November 2016, it was established that a Glastonbury funded Police Community Support Officer would add £11 to the Council Tax per band ‘D’ dwelling in Glastonbury – less than £1 per month.

Cllr Jon Cousins
Mayor of Glastonbury
Glastonbury Council, St. Edmund’s Ward
Town Hall, Magdalene Street, Glastonbury,
Somerset. BA6 9EL
jonfcousins@hotmail.com

Search for solutions to problems that have been a blight on town – Central Somerset Gazette, 10th November 2016

Search for solutions to problems that have been a blight on town – Central Somerset Gazette, 10th November 2016.